Throat slasher faced significant provocation

| 14/09/2016 | 26 Comments

Cayman News Service

David Bodden

(CNS): A George Town man will have to wait two more weeks to find out if he will serve time in jail for cutting the throat of another man who had threatened on more than one occasion to kill him. David Andrew Bodden was found guilty in March of unlawful wounding, the lesser of three charges before a jury, after he slashed Blake Burrell’s throat with a scalpel on the streets of George Town last summer. Burrell suffered very serious life-threatening injuries, but the fact that he and Jose Sanchez had shot up Bodden’s home and made several threats on his life was accepted as serious provocation during a sentencing hearing Wednesday.

After hearing submissions from both the crown attorney who prosecuted the case and Bodden’s defence attorney about the background as well as the details of the attack, the judge said he needed time to consider the appropriate sentence. Bodden may evade jail time regardless of the sentence imposed because he served several months on remand after his arrest before being bailed on a 24-hour doorstep, and each day of that is the equivalent to half a day in jail.

Bodden was charged with attempted murder but the jury was also asked to consider wounding with intent and lawful wounding. It was on that lesser charge that he was convicted, demonstrating that the jury accepted it was a spur of the moment provoked attack.

Bodden had made numerous reports to the police, who had failed to get either Sanchez, who is now serving time for firearms offences, or Burrell behind bars, despite the threats that were made to Bodden at his house and at the funeral home where he worked. The court heard that Bodden was terrified and really believed these men would kill him because of allegations that had been made about what Bodden knew in relation to a murder trial involving Sanchez.

Targeted by men he knew to be violent, one of whom had dodged two murder charges, Bodden had done everything he could to help the police with the evidence they needed to arrest them, the court had heard. He had given reports, shown officers where the shells were from the shots fired at his house and had even tried to round up witnesses, but the police were unable to get the men into custody.

On the day of the incident Bodden had been threatened again and went to the police station in a distraught state. He had asked police to come with him to take statements from people who had witnessed the threats, but as the police were driving behind Bodden he spotted Burrell in another vehicle.

On the spur of the moment, he took off after him and rammed Burrell’s car off the road. When Burrell jumped out of the car, Bodden went after him, grabbed him and, with a scalpel from the funeral home where he worked that he had in his pocket, he slashed his throat. However, he was immediately pulled off him by the police who had been following close behind.

The police officer took Burrell immediately to hospital, which saved his life as the man had sustained a 20 centimeter open gash across his throat from ear to ear and another laceration from his neck to chest. Even though he lost 25 per cent of his blood, doctors were able to save his life when they clipped his jugular vein and saved his trachea.

Elizabeth Lees, who represented the prosecution, told Justice Charles Quin, who will decide Bodden’s fate, that she agreed there was a “greater degree” of provocation in the case than normal. But she pointed to a number of aggravating factors, including the seriousness of the injury, the use of a scalpel, the fact it happened in the middle of the day in downtown George Town on a busy cruise ship day and was witnessed by tourists, and that Bodden was on bail at the time for another offence.

However, defence attorney Amelia Fosuhene made it clear that Bodden had never intended to kill his victim and the incident occurred in the wake of yet another threat and when the police seemed unable to protect him. She also indicted that Bodden would have pleaded guilty to the charge of unlawful wounding if the crown had accepted the offer made before trial, but she said it was not accepted. It was not until the trial was underway that the alternative charges were also put before a jury.

Answering the judge’s concerns that Bodden was carrying the scalpel, she said he was not carrying it with the purpose of killing anyone; he just had it on him as he had come from work.

She said that before the incident “he did everything he was supposed to do”, and described her client as terrified and distraught that day and at “his wits end”. She said the stabbing would never have happened if her client had been thinking clearly.

Fosuhene told the court that Bodden had grabbed Burrell by the shirt, and it was in the momentum of the tussle and with the police officer coming on scene and moving Bodden that he slashed Burrell so badly.

Bodden was criticised by the probation service for not showing remorse, but Fosuhene said it was a difficult situation and “hard for him to show empathy to a man who wants him dead”.

He nevertheless regretted the entire incident and had never meant to kill Burrell, but none of it would have happened if Burrell and Sanchez had been arrested after shooting at his house.

The judge bailed Bodden to remain on his 24 hour curfew and will deliver his sentencing ruling on 29 September.

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Category: Courts, Crime

Comments (26)

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  1. Tsk tsk tsk says:

    Great police work, as usual. And then they wonder why witnesses are hesitant to come forward with any information. They all need to be in jail as far as I am concerned.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Stunner shades!

  3. Anonymous says:

    There are two camps on comments to this story. There are those from the law abiding and respecting community that have no sympathy with the man and his horrific behaviour. And in the other camp there are those from West Bay.

  4. Anonymous says:

    If these comments are indicative of the mindset joining our jury pool it is clear where this country is headed.
    However, it comes as no surprise when historic societal trends of larger western countries are taken into account.
    As I always say; Cayman is regressing into the typical western metropolis – and it is being led there by the perspective of the relatively newly arrived and influential members of our “community”.

    The cancerous element of this reality is the fact that the aforementioned will never concede or consider the possibility of harbouring a warped and biased perspective – by way of social programming in their original environment.

  5. ExPatriate says:

    Compare this case to Justin Ebanks’s case and you quickly realize the criminal justice system is failing the very same people who are helping to put away criminals. There are a few other cases of witnesses being let down by the system but I don’t have the specifics right now. I welcome your input and feedback.

  6. ExPatriate says:

    I noticed the prosecutor mentioned this happened in front of tourist on a busy cruise day. When are we going to stop acting nice for tourist and start treating EVERYONE as human beings?
    Do tourists deserve better than everyone else in the society?
    Mr. Bodden should be commended for his tolerance and restraint. If it was me, I would’ve fixed the problem long before he did. It is unfortunate that he now has a criminal conviction on his record which was completely avoidable, had the system not failed him.

  7. Just Sayin' says:

    One thing we can say with certainty about Sanchez, he is dirty.

  8. MM says:

    Weellll, we all know (and as evidenced by the recent acquittal of alleged child rapists) – the police are simply not doing their jobs.

    The least the police could have done was call Burrell and Sanchez and warn them that they were aware of the issue and if anything happened to Bodden, it would be immediate arrest and prosecution.

    However, it appears that they did nothing, absolutely nothing. We, as the public are suppose to be able to have confidence in our force that if we are faced with such life-threatening issues, we should be able to go to them and get some sort of relief. I could not imagine going to bed each night with the thought that someone is out to get me.

  9. Anonymous says:

    i dont know where to start! all so confusing and opinionated….Bodden must have been scared, to do it while the police are knowingly behind you then he must have felt he had no options than to take a chance and kill the guy! do the crime, do the time bredrin!

  10. Veritas says:

    He was terrified of Sanchez yet he chased him and slashed his throat and it just happens that he travels around with a scalpel in his pocket. He needs a stiff jail sentence as the victim very nearly died.As for “unlawful wounding’ that’s a joke, deliberately slashing a man’s throat from ear to ear and also from his throat to his chest would be attempted murder anywhere but in a third world country. Yet another example of a home town jury protecting it’s own.

    • Anonymous says:

      Are you serious!!!! First of all you obviously don’t know what you are talking about. Second what would you do if you were being hunted like a piece of meat to be slaughtered???? Third let’s talk about protection if he was being protected this wouldn’t happened in the first place! Then what do you say after making 12 calls to the police and showing up to the police station? What do you say after that same man shows up at your workplace asking you to pick out your casket??? Please stop the bullshit and stop condoning these criminals that walking around threatening and bulling people. He was protecting himself.

    • MM says:

      He did not chase Sanchez, he chased Burrell; please read the article before commenting.

    • Anonymous says:

      You can’t even get your story straight! He chased Burrell you idiot! You need a stiff uppercut!

  11. Anonymous says:

    It was bring your scalpel to work day…as you do.

  12. Anonymous says:

    Deport him!…..oh, wait….

  13. Anonymous says:

    Under the circumstances, I would say let the defendant continue with his freedom but put him on probation for 12 months to keep the peace and be of good behavior. Time already spent in custody, is sufficient for his conviction of Wounding.

    • Anonymous says:

      West Bay Bots, I see. Letting criminals who commit very serious crimes walk free. But I suppose in West Bay slashing someone’s throat with a weapon carried in a premeditated way after a car chase is towards the minor end of offences.

  14. Soiled Son says:

    Sounds like Police and the Justice System turned Mr. Bodden into a criminal. As usual, they are unaccountable to the public. Mr. Bodden deserved better.

    • Anonymous says:

      Sadly, not his first appearance in the dock, nor his first scalpel incident as Justice Quin can no doubt attest. Google it.

      • Soiled Son says:

        Fair enough. In this case, based on what this article describes, it seems that the police could and should have done more. There are those who have had serious brushes with the law in the past who become law-abiding citizens – I am by no means suggesting that it applies in this case (I don’t know this man and have never heard of his name until reading this article), but it seems that he has a job and was trying to help the police by providing evidence against two criminals.

        • Anonymous says:

          Even celebrated surgeons do not carry surgical tools in their pockets to work and they don’t ram cars and cut people open on the street in front of tourists. XXXXXX

          • Anonymous says:

            David doesn’t claim to be a celebrated surgeon

          • Soiled Son says:

            Look, I’m not saying that what he did was right…but he was left with little choice. He genuinely believed that his life was in danger (with good reason) and the police were doing NADA as usual. Should he have waited to eat a bullet? What exactly would you have done?

      • Anonymous says:

        What’s your point? Like the other commenter said people change and he did he had a job and had become a law abiding citizen. Does that give Mr Burrell and Mr Sanchez the right to hunt him down to kill him just because he “possibly had info on a murder they committed”? This is the problem with our society the some peoples eye “people can’t change” and then we condone bullshit. Please!

      • Anonymous says:

        Can you provide supporting evidence regarding the other scalpel case??? I would love to see it.


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